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"We will not allow Colombia's international image to be linked to a Land of Mercenaries either!," Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez vowed.
This week, the New York Times and Mexican magazine Politica Exterior once again revealed that Colombian mercenaries have been detected not only in Haiti but also in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Mexico. In these countries, they are training drug-trafficking hitmen in military tactics and the use of weapons.
"The capture in Haiti of 24 Colombians, all former military personnel recruited in Miami.... has drawn media attention to the lucrative business of 'soldiers of fortune,' which has appeared in Colombia because of the abundant unemployed labor left by its internal conflicts," Politica Exterior said.
"The detainees in Haiti were hired by the Florida-based company Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy, which is run by a Venezuelan exile. Most of them are in their 40s and retire young when they can't move up in the military," it recalled.
Evidence of the Colombian Fortune Soldier industry has been compiled by international media for more than a decade. However, this week, Colombia's Vice President and Foreign Affairs Ministry Marta Lucia Ramirez assured that President Ivan Duque's administration will not allow the country's image to be linked to mercenaries.
Colombian mercenaries were (allegedly) behind the assassination of Jovenel Moïse and have also been involved in plots in Venezuela. @olivercdodd writes about this growing industry across the borderhttps://t.co/7pKKvPXTgf
"There can be no impunity! We will not allow Colombia's international image to be linked to a land of mercenaries either!", she said after a meeting with the Haitian ambassador, Jean Mary Exil.
As a result of investigations into the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Haitian authorities arrested 18 former Colombian military personnel. Three other Colombian mercenaries were killed in clashes with Haitian police on July 7.
Alleging that there were "irregularities" in these arrests, the Colombian government requested "guarantees" for the ex-military. In the coming days, the vice-chancellor Francisco Echeverri will travel to Haiti "to complete the repatriation of the bodies of the deceased and legal assistance for the detainees".
"We will not leave them alone in this process," Vice President Rodriguez said. "The situation has been unfair to our country... The world has once again pointed the finger at Colombia and this image is negative for the country."